Aligning Digital & Business Strategy

Aligning Digital & Business Strategy

In this lesson, you’re expected to:
– learn how to align your digital strategy with your business objectives
– understand the importance of the conversion funnel
– discover key metrics and KPIs to track performance and ROI

Marketing in a digital age has shifted the way we approach our business strategy as new platforms continue to emerge, social channels boom and mobile technology increases.

It’s understandable for small business owners to feel overwhelmed by the challenge of developing, implementing or even starting a digital strategy, but the fundamentals of building a successful business strategy remain unchanged.

As the world moves further away from traditional methods of communication and into the digital age, the way that companies and businesses reach their target markets has evolved.

Companies around the world are seeking to get the most out of their advertising and marketing spend. Focusing on digital channels allows them to do so, especially when formulating a fully integrated digital strategy that incorporates a diverse range of digital media, from desktops to mobile platforms.

Integration of Digital & Traditional Marketing
Many businesses are trying to integrate digital and traditional marketing, but only 1 in 20 have achieved full optimization.

Source: Smart Insights, TFM & eCommerce expo – Managing Digital Marketing Report 2016
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Numerous studies have shown that alignment between digital and business strategies delivers tangible value.

In a study conducted by Apigee, they showed that aligned organizations were six times more likely to be able to be a leader in their industry by improving their employee’s experience and portfolio of products and services.

MIT and Capgemini also showed that alignment helps organizations to be 26% more profitable than their industry competitors.

[Optional] Strategic Alignment: A Key to Digital Success
Check out this link to see the report conducted by The Apigee Institute:
It’s imperative for marketers to stay connected to other areas of the business and understand the bigger picture. Keeping wider business goals as the overarching ambition allows you to take the necessary steps to make these goals a reality.

In digital marketing, this disjoint can be more enhanced. Furthermore, the relationship between online and offline marketing is becoming more blurred every day.

It’s impossible to ignore the impact of digital so getting your digital strategy working effectively in line with your business strategy will help your brand grow and prosper.

Process of Alignment

In order to properly align your business and digital objective, we recommend using the following three-step process:

1) Understand the existing business strategy including the underlying key performance indicators*, measures, and reporting cycles.
2) Complete an investment logic map as an input to the digital strategy. This will provide you with the key drivers and the expected benefits from making a change. When you define the expected benefits, you can easily reference these against the value statement in the business strategy.

An investment logic map also provides you with a strategic response to deliver the expected benefits, and the top-level change requirements. Together these two things help you to understand the resource requirements and helps you ensure that the proposed change supports the agreed organizational focus (for differentiation).

3) Develop your digital strategy and then use the relevant key performance indicators from the business strategy to determine the success of your digital strategy.

Note that the measures are likely to be different but the key performance indicators must be the same.

Key Facts on Business Digitization

Digital platforms play a key role in the discovery of small and medium businesses, as well as in consumers’ purchase decision. As consumers turn to digital media for researching products/services, businesses must recognize and embrace this opportunity.

· According to 77% of small and medium enterprises owners, a digital presence helps with customer acquisition.

· About 63% of them stated that a digital presence could also improve the image of the enterprise.

· As of 2016, investing in social media marketing is the intention of about 45% of small and medium business owners for their digital future.

Below are five reasons why a digital strategy is necessary for improving the way your business connects with your market online.

This in turn helps you achieve your overall goals, by knowing which channels generate the highest ROI.

1) Capture More Leads

By incorporating a diverse mix of digital marketing platforms into your strategy, you will better enable your business to reach a wider audience that can lead to higher traffic on your site and more sales being generated as a result. By creating a cohesive digital strategy that has a specific target audience in mind, you can reach that audience more effectively via the platforms they prefer to engage with.

Some may prefer Google searches, while others may spend more time on social media sites. To discover which channel will yield the best results, it is important to have a digital marketing strategy that features a strong assortment of digital platforms with a specific goal in mind.

2) Provides your Company Better Direction

One major advantage a digital strategy can provide is the ability to keep everyone in your company moving in the same direction towards the same set of goals.

Simply looking to generally improve sales or online engagements is too vague. A cohesive digital strategy will enable you to set specific goals and keep track of your progress as you advance towards achieving those goals.

3) Adapt to a Changing Market

There has been a rapid increase in the number of smartphone users over the past five years. A recent announcement from Comscore stated that the number of mobile-only users has now surpassed the number of desktop-only users in the US.

As the number of mobile-only internet users grows, the very nature of online advertising is shifting into a mobile-friendly reality, giving companies who already have a digital strategy in place an advantage over the competition. This is due to the fact that many digital marketers are well aware of the constantly changing landscape of the digital world, and are always ready to adapt to better serve their clients.

[Optional] All digital growth now coming from mobile usage
4) Stay Ahead of the Competition

By implementing an integrated digital strategy that includes analytics, you can track changes in your customer’s behavior and use that information to continuously improve your marketing efforts.

It enables you to go back and review what worked and what didn’t, allowing you to optimize the strategy and execution according to the benchmarks you use to track your progress. This approach will always lead to improvement wherever necessary.

5) Improved ROI

Creating an effective digital marketing strategy often requires a significant initial investment which is why a lot of businesses shy away from it at first. What many of these companies are unaware of however, is the fact that a digital strategy isn’t limited to advertising a website alone, and can quickly lead to exponential growth.

A truly effective digital strategy will include a large number of online engagement methods including promotional emails, social media management, SEO, and content generators/bloggers. These are just a few examples of tactics that can be extremely useful when it comes to increasing market share and delivering a strong ROI.

The Biggest Trends in Digital Media in 2015
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The Conversion Funnel

Remember when we talked about the Purchase Funnel in the Introduction to Marketing?

Well, the same funnel (with a few slight changes) can be applied to digital marketing as well and is know as the Conversion Funnel.

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The Conversion Funnel analyzes your customer acquisition process to help you understand how potential customers discover your product or brand and how they eventually become a loyal customer.

It is typically broken down into five stages:
Awareness, Consideration, Conversion, Loyalty and Advocacy.

From a measurement point of view, this may map to a variety of sales and marketing channels, from social media and web visits to mailing lists and sales contacts.

Use of the Funnel in Digital Marketing

The  Funnel can help with:
– planning marketing campaigns
– improving your conversion rate
– evolving the sales process
– designing a Customer Relationship Management system

The key to the purchase funnel is analyzing conversion rates from one stage to the next and the ability to zero in on your strengths and weakness.

For instance, you may have strong brand awareness (i.e. a high number of web visitors) but your ability to convert leads into wins may represent a weak point. The funnel allows you to see and act on this information.

Best Practices

1) Make sure your website is easy to navigate to avoid any sort of distraction that could cause a lost opportunity. When customers are in the consideration stage, they are weighing the pros and cons of the purpose, so ensure they find what they want fast.

2) Reviews are a great way to ensure you are addressing the preferences in the customer journey. All e-commerce companies can benefit from allowing customers to write product and experience reviews because it eliminates any doubts potential customers may have.

3) At the purchase stage of your funnel, you have to think about what would make that customer come back or better yet spread the word. Meaning: how are you building loyalty?

[Optional] Understanding the Stages of the New Digital Marketing Funnel
Check out this blog article to see an interesting take on the new digital marketing funnel:
Digital Marketing Metrics and KPIs are values used by marketing teams to measure and track the performance of their marketing campaigns. Digital marketing teams use a number of tools to promote their services and products, and tracking the results can often be time-consuming and difficult.

By creating specific digital marketing KPIs, it’s easy to determine targets and goals and measure performance based on those values.

Many digital marketers rely on KPIs to make decisions and assess their marketing data in a more organized and informative way.

With the help of a KPI dashboard and marketing tools, you can get a comprehensive overview of your marketing performance and make informed decisions to improve your results month-over-month.

There are different categories of KPIs:

1) Lead Generation
2) Website & Traffic Metrics
3) SEO Optimization
4) Revenue
5) Social Media Tracking

Below are some commonly used KPIs and Metrics:

– Unique Site Visitors: how many first-time prospects are discovering your website?

– Cost Per Lead: measures the effectiveness of marketing campaigns at generating leads for each dollar spent.

– Web Traffic Sources: measures where your traffic comes from and provides a comparison of major traffic sources such as Search, Direct and Referral.

– Bounce Rate: shows you what percentage of visitors leaves your website before further exploring your website.

– Conversion Rate: average number of conversions per ad click. One of the most important metrics for measuring the profitability of your marketing efforts.

– Click-Through Rate: measures the percentage of people who actually clicked on your ad. It is the number of clicks that your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown (i.e. “impressions”)

– Average Time on Site: how long do prospects stay on your site?

Digital Marketing Dashboard
Here’s an example of what a typical digital marketing dashboard could look like.
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[Optional] 14 Most Important Metrics to Focus on in Your Digital Marketing Campaign
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